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Viral therapy could boost limb-saving cancer treatment
Date:7/21/2014

halan to get to the tumour more effectively. In this study, researchers found that TNF- α also helped the virus get to the tumour more easily.

Researchers first tested the treatments on rat sarcoma cells in tissue culture, and found combining modified vaccinia virus and melphalan killed more cells than either treatment on its own.

They tested the combination in rats with advanced sarcoma and found it slowed tumour growth and prolonged survival by 50% compared to standard ILP therapy (melphalan and TNF-α). Rats given the combined therapy survived a median of 24 days, compared to 16 days for rats who received standard limb perfusion treatment, 15 days with the modified virus alone, and 11 days with no treatment. They saw the modified virus had no adverse effects on the rats, adding to existing evidence that the virus has a good safety profile.

Isolated limb perfusion allows drugs to be given in much higher doses than could be tolerated by the whole body. It is used by doctors as a last line of treatment for advanced skin cancer or sarcomas in the hope of avoiding amputation. However, the technique is not always successful and researchers have been searching for ways to make the approach more effective.

Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our research shows that a virus that targets and kills cancer cells could significantly improve an existing treatment for advanced skin cancer and sarcoma in the arms and legs. Combining modified virus and isolated limb chemotherapy doubled survival times in the laboratory, which gives us hope that it might be effective in the clinic. We have approval to start clinical trials on the combination therapy and hope to begin testing in patients in the near future.

"The beauty of this technique is that the arm or leg is isolated, making
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Contact: Graham Shaw
graham.shaw@icr.ac.uk
020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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